Bellis Wins $25,000 Pro Circuit Tournament in Rancho Santa Fe; Grade 1 in Uruguay Underway; Tennis Recruiting Reveals Stars for Spring; Free Admission to Family Circle Cup for Juniors
Postponed from Sunday due to rain, the final of the $25,000 Rancho Santa Fe women's tournament was played today, with No. 6 seed CiCi Bellis beating No. 4 seed Maria Sanchez 6-2, 6-0 to win her third Pro Circuit title at that prize money level.
Bellis, who turns 16 next month, is now 3-0 in Pro Circuit finals, and it occurred to me that she rarely loses a final if she gets there. I looked at her record in pro and junior events in 2014, and my instinct was correct. She reached eight finals last year, at ITF Junior Grade 1s or above and the two $25,000 Pro Circuit events, and she won seven of them, with the only loss to Daria Kasatkina of Russia in the Grade 1 in Santa Croce, Italy.
She is now approaching the WTA Top 200, which is around the cutoff for the women's qualifying at Roland Garros, and with just two points to defend between now and September, she is likely to make at least the qualifying draw of the other two slams this year. (A wild card into the US Open main draw seems likely given her performance there last year). Bellis is blogging for the ITF junior website, with the focal point of part 2 on her love of team competition.
Sanchez also had a good week, and she too is moving up in the rankings to that magical place that assures entry into slam qualifying.
Nineteen US juniors are in the main draw of this week's Grade 1 in Uruguay, ten boys and nine girls.
The boys are Sam Riffice, Trent Bryde, Emil Reinberg(5) Nathan Ponwith(15), Vasil Kirkov, Sameer Kumar(8), Sami Kirberg, Anudeep Kodali, qualifier Jakub Wojcik and Liam Caruana. The top seed in the draw is Bogdan Bobrov of Russia.
The US girls are: Ndindi Mwaruka(16), Andrea Kevakian, qualifier Luciana Rabines, Abigail Desiatnikov, Olivia Hauger(10), Gabby Pollner(11), Anna Dollar, qualifier Jaclyn Switkes and Ally Miller-Krasilnikov. The top seed in the draw is Great Britain's Maia Lumsden.
Anyone who is desperate for a sign of spring can find one today at the Tennis Recruiting Network, when they announced their most recent star prospects rankings. While other rankings are updated there weekly, the star ratings change only twice a year and determine who is considered a blue chip, 5-star, etc.
I received an email today from the WTA Family Circle Cup announcing free admission to all juniors 15 and under and a tennis lesson to go along with it during the tournament April 4-12. This is a great initiative, so if you can, take the opportunity to show a young tennis player, or one who wants to be, the top level of the sport. The complete release:
FAMILY CIRCLE CUP GOAL TO GROW GAME OF TENNIS
Tournament partnering with SunTrust and MW Tennis to offer free junior tickets
to the Family Circle Cup along with a free lesson
Social Media: The @FamilyCircleCup is partnering w/ @SunTrust to offer kids 15 & under free admission all week to the tournament, April 4-12.
DANIEL ISLAND, S.C. – The Family Circle Cup tennis tournament has made its 2015 mission to grow the game of tennis, starting with its junior fans. In partnership with SunTrust, kids 15 and under will receive free admission all week to the Family Circle Cup, April 4 – 12, 2015, in Charleston, SC on Daniel Island. In addition every junior that takes advantage of the free ticket will be provided one free lesson from MWTennis during the year at the Family Circle Tennis Center.
“It’s important for our tournament to create a program to inspire juniors to get out and play the game of tennis, and to expand that relationship beyond the nine days of the tournament,” said Bob Moran, Family Circle Cup Tournament Director. “We want the Family Circle Cup and the Family Circle Tennis Center to become a vehicle for kids to fall in love with the sport all yearlong. SunTrust continues to be a fantastic partner to the Family Circle Cup and the Charleston community. This gesture shows how committed they are to making a difference.”
“At SunTrust, we are proud of our partnership with the Family Circle Cup for eight years,” said Mark Lattanzio, SunTrust’s Charleston Region President. “This youth outreach initiative to expand tennis participation in the Lowcountry is important as a way to help encourage the health and well-being of the future generations of our community. Not only will the junior players have a chance to enjoy and learn about tennis at the tournament, but the financial support to them is impactful.”
Free junior tickets can be redeemed via www.FamilyCircleCup.com or at the Box Office. To sign-up for a free lesson with MWTennis, visit the academy’s booth on-site during the tournament.